August 10, 2011

Explorin’ with Lauren: The Gulf Coast


The Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, an explosion took place on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling rig that affected communities all along the Gulf Coast. While the primary concern for many was the long-term environmental impact of the resulting oil spill, the more immediate effect was seen on wildlife and local tourism economies.  People cancelled their vacations and local businesses lost their customers. It was a tough summer all along the coast.

Last summer, to show support for the communities impacted, my family took a trip to the Gulf Coast. We stopped at beaches in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. The beaches were void of tourists and the only people walking in the sand were the cleanup crews. I, personally, love the beach and it was sad to see what had happened.


The Gulf Coast Today

This summer I went to Gulf Shores, Alabama with a friend and her family. I was nervous about how the beach would look — I imagined oil in the water and finding creatures dead along the shore, along with volunteers walking up and down the shore still picking up the remains of this tragic occurrence. I was completely off target!

The Beach


From where I was staying I saw no oil at all, the beach had nice white sand and water so blue and clear you could see the bottom. It looked as if nothing had happened. To be honest — it looked better than it had ever been. The closed up businesses were back open and most are doing better.

The Town


If you’re not a beach junkie, there are still tons of things to do, just like in any beach town. Go-cart riding is always exciting, with the wind blowing your hair as you zoom by your friends. I know I loved that. Mini-golf is a fun family experience, and something my family always does when we are on vacation. Most activity centers offer putt-putt and arcades with video games, making it a two in one deal. But my all time favorite place to visit is The Hangout, a restaurant and a place to hangout. While you’re eating the DJ plays little games with the diners in the restaurant, like “Name That Theme Song,” and music plays so you can get up and dance.

Even after you’ve finished eating the party isn’t over. Live music plays outside, there’s ping-pong galore, a huge sandpit for kids and much more awaits for you!

I enjoyed my visit to the Gulf Coast and even though there was a disaster here, it’s good to see how life continues on. Slowly the tourists are coming back. Things are beginning to get back to normal, but there’s still a long way to go.

Where did you go this summer?

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